Live coronavirus updates: Milwaukee County suburbs can reopen all remaining businesses on Friday
Updates on the coronavirus and how it's affecting life in Wisconsin from reporters from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.
Blog recap:Coronavirus updates, May 8-11
Daily Digest: What you need to know about coronavirus in Wisconsin
More Coverage: Coronavirus in the U.S. and around the world
5 p.m.: Wisconsin Athletic Club to reopen June 1
Wisconsin Athletic Club, which operates eight clubs in the Milwaukee metro area, told members Tuesday that it would start its first phase of reopening June 1.
The club is planning for enhanced safety, cleaning and operational protocols for bringing customers back into the fitness centers. Physical distancing measures like adjusting capacity, reconfiguring gathering areas and increasing spacing in all areas will take place before the clubs open.
All clubs will also under go a "deep cleaning" with increased cleaning and sanitation measures for all touch items in the facilities. More sanitizing stations and wipes are being added throughout the clubs.
Wisconsin Athletic Club told members that it will share more information about what the "first phase" of reopening will look like later this week.
Wisconsin Athletic Club closed all of its clubs March 17 and put a freeze on all membership fees.
— Sarah Hauer
4:30 p.m.: More than 600 Wisconsin National Guard members are helping local testing efforts
The Wisconsin National Guard continues to play a vital role in helping local communities test residents for the coronavirus, as well as following up with calls about results.
On Tuesday the Wisconsin National Guard announced it has set up 25 teams comprising of more than 600 soldiers and airmen in nine counties to help local authorities increase their testing capacity.
Gen. Paul Knapp, Wisconsin’s adjunct general, said in a call Tuesday the guard has collected more than 46,000 specimens.
Knapp added that of the 25 teams, three of them have been divided into three groups to test small and medium-sized senior and long-term care facilities.
There are nearly 40 soldiers and airmen that are manning a call center to inform people of their test results. About a dozen are bilingual in languages such as Hmong and Spanish.
Knapp said the call center is used to help local authorities who do not have the capacity to reach out to those that have been tested.
Nearly 20,000 calls have been made with an 87% success rate, according to Knapp.
While the national guard has been a help to communities during the pandemic, they are only authorized to mobilize until June 24.
Knapp said Gov. Tony Evers has sent a request to the White House to extend the national guard’s mobilization through the end of July.
Dijk said there are more than 250 contact tracers with about 30 of them being bilingual and another 100 currently being trained.
“We’re moving in the right direction, but we need to continue to test to be sure we’re not missing pockets of COVID-19 and we need to continue to monitor those hospitalization rates,” Dijk said. “When our hospitals start to fill up with COVID-19 patients it’s too late to take effective mitigation or containment efforts.”
— Ricardo Torres
3:39 p.m.: Milwaukee County suburbs can reopen all remaining businesses on Friday
Milwaukee County’s suburban municipalities will move on to the next phase of reopening Friday, allowing all remaining businesses in those municipalities to open.
A county order will expire at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, allowing the 18 municipalities to open all remaining businesses if they choose.
“In preparation for this next phase of the reopening beginning on Friday, May 22, local health departments are communicating with businesses throughout their communities to share best practices and guidance about how they can reopen and operate safely,” according to a statement.
— Alison Dirr
3:23 p.m.: Evers to direct $1 billion in federal aid to testing, tracing
Gov. Tony Evers announced Tuesday the state will direct $1 billion in aid from the federal CARES Act toward testing, contact tracing, personal protective equipment and resources for local public health departments.
The aid beefs up Wisconsin's testing program with $202 million earmarked for coronavirus test kits, $10 million to local and tribal public health departments to coordinate their own testing efforts, and $45 million for testing in congregate and occupational settings. It also will provide $30,000 grants to 96 local health departments to update preparedness plans to continue testing into the fall.
To date, 52 labs across the state are able to run a total of more than 13,000 tests a day. Twenty-five National Guard teams have been deployed across Wisconsin to collect specimens from residents. Over 161,000 Wisconsinites have now been tested, just less than 3% of the state's total population.
The state's contact tracing efforts will get a $75 million boost, mostly directed to public health departments to hire staff needed to make the calls.
— Madeline Heim
3 p.m.: State records nearly 200 new coronavirus cases, 14 more deaths
Wisconsin recorded 198 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, according to the state health department website, roughly 5% of the nearly 4,000 tests run since Monday. That's an increase in the percentage of positive cases, which hit a monthly low of 2.9% Monday, but the number of tests processed Tuesday is also the fewest daily since May 15.
Four hundred and sixty-seven Wisconsinites have now died from the virus, an increase of 14 from Monday.
Milwaukee County reported 114 new cases of the coronavirus, and no new deaths, between its Tuesday morning and afternoon updates.
Countywide totals have now reached 5,185 cases and 240 deaths, according to the county’s online dashboard.
There were 183 people in Milwaukee County hospitalized with the coronavirus Tuesday, a jump of 14 from the previous day and an increase from a recent low-point on May 14, when 146 people were hospitalized. The number of coronavirus patients in the county has tended to hover around 150 or 160 for about the past month.
2:51 p.m.: Group to aid Wisconsin manufacturers with $1.5 million in federal funds
A group that helps Wisconsin manufacturers will receive $1.5 million in federal coronavirus relief money, Sen. Tammy Baldwin announced Tuesday.
The Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing & Productivity will use the funds to help manufacturers better respond to and prepare for the coronavirus pandemic, Baldwin said in a statement.
The center will reach out to manufacturers and offer them resources to survive the financial strain of the pandemic, transition their business models and expand.
The money is part of a $50 million manufacturing allocation in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act.
— Sophie Carson
1:52 p.m.: First Stage makes most summer classes virtual
First Stage will shift 70% of its Summer Theater Academy classes to a virtual platform, with classes beginning June 15.
Limited in-person classes will begin July 6 at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, 325 W. Walnut St.
In a statement for parents and students, First Stage said the in-person classes will be capped at eight students. Starting and ending times will be staggered to make sure no more than eight students will be entering or exiting the building at the same time. Classes will take place in large rehearsal halls with taped-out grids to ensure staff and students maintain six feet of separation. Students and staff will also have their temperatures taken daily on arrival. Anyone with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher will not be admitted to the building.
Registration for summer academy classes begins May 22. Visit firststage.org/summer.
The Summer Theater Academy typically serves about 2,000 children and teenagers each summer.
— Jim Higgins
11:28 a.m.: Franklin to let local safer-at-home order expire
Franklin's safer-at-home order is set to expire Thursday, lifting all restrictions on businesses in the city.
"We have had great cooperation from all of our businesses and citizens during the worst periods of this pandemic. Now is the time for us to show the rest of the area how to spring back from this devastating virus," said Courtney Day, the city's director of health and human services, in a news release.
There are no plans to extend the local order, but the city plans to issue guidelines and best practices for safely operating businesses during the pandemic.
Franklin, along with 10 other health departments in Milwaukee County, issued emergency orders that relaxed restrictions on most businesses and activities after the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned Gov. Tony Evers' statewide safer-at-home order. The goal of the interim short-term order, Franklin officials said, was to provide a bridge to allow an orderly and safe transition for business operations.
- Steven Martinez
10:01 a.m.: Airbnb warns against parties in Milwaukee and Dane counties
Short-term rental site Airbnb is warning against parties in Milwaukee and Dane counties after the state Supreme Court ruling last week throwing out statewide safer-at-home orders.
Airbnb is not allowing hosts to authorize parties and events in regions where current public health mandates prohibit events and gatherings during the pandemic.
"Although the state's safer at home order is no longer in effect, Milwaukee County's public health order remains in place, and this includes a prohibition on large gatherings, meaning our new policy means will continue to prohibit any type of party at an Airbnb listing in Milwaukee until further notice," the warning said.
"We want to be very clear -- not only will we ban guests who attempt to throw an unauthorized party in a Milwaukee Airbnb listing, we will be cooperating with Milwaukee Police in any investigations relating to parties and violations of public health mandates, consistent with our Terms of Service," the company said.
The policy banning parties in Airbnbs remains in effect until local orders change.
- Sarah Hauer
9:39 a.m.: Racine bans large gatherings through July
The city of Racine is banning large gatherings until July 31, its public health department announced Tuesday.
The order applies to events such as festivals, block parties and other gatherings that require city approval or permits, according to a news release. The ban is not a continuation of the city’s safer-at-home order, which expires May 26.
In the coming days, the city’s health department will issue orders that will give businesses and residents guidelines on phased and gradual reopening of the local economy, Public Health Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox said in a statement.
- Elliot Hughes
7:47 a.m.: Milwaukee County reports 4 more deaths
Milwaukee County reported 31 new cases of the coronavirus and four more deaths between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.
Countywide totals have now reached 5,071 cases and 240 deaths, according to the county’s online dashboard.
Monday, May 18
9:07 p.m.: Mayfair Mall to reopen Wednesday
In a Facebook post Monday, Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa said it was reopening:
“We’re opening Wednesday, May 20th and taking the necessary steps to ensure you have a safe and worry-free visit. We’ve missed you!”
The post did not indicate all the stores will be open, but said the hours will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
The mall indicated there will be “plentiful” hand-sanitizing stations, “frequent and intense” cleanings of the facility, touch-free interactions and encouragement of social distancing. The mall had been offering curbside pickup from many of its restaurants and retailers.
Earlier Monday, Brookfield Square made a similar announcement.
— Jim Owczarski
8:29 p.m.: Racine begins drive-through testing for COVID-19
Drive-through testing for COVID-19 began Monday at Festival Hall in Racine and will be conducted daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (or as capacity allows) through May 22 at the facility at 5 Fifth St.
On Friday, the city reported 654 confirmed cases and six deaths. On Monday, the city reported an increase to 704 confirmed cases and eight deaths.
The City of Racine’s public health administrator extended its safer-at-home order until 8 a.m. on May 26.
Racine County, meanwhile, reported 1,059 confirmed cases and 20 deaths and has been open, with some restrictions on capacity for businesses and parks, since May 13.
— Jim Owczarski
7:47 p.m.: COVID cases at Milwaukee County's House of Correction have cleared, board committee told
The overall population at Milwaukee County's House of Correction was at 626 Monday, down from around 1,100 before the coronavirus crisis.
That was part of testimony before a County Board committee from Supt. Michael Hafemann and Milwaukee County Chief Judge Mary Triggiano, who outlined the steps they took to reduce the population over concerns about the fallout of an outbreak.
More than 100 inmates tested positive over the past month at the facility in Franklin, but all of those had recovered and no new infections have been found, committee members were told.
Anyone who had been sleeping at the facility but going out on work release has been released. In addition, another nearly 200 inmates were released based on them having little time left to serve for certain misdemeanors, or as condition time to a probation sentence, and were considered low risk. That was done under orders approved by Triggiano, in consultation with prosecutors, defense lawyers and Hafemann's staff.
Twenty-three inmates have been sentenced to state prison but are still at the House of Correction because the state Department of Corrections has halted new admissions as part of its own effort to stem any introduction or spread of the coronavirus in its prisons.
Two inmates were hospitalized, but recovered enough to return to the House of Correction. County officials said Monday they are close to opening a special refurbished facility that will house inmates — including from other jails and prisons — who contract COVID-19.
Hafemann said all staff members now have adequate protective equipment, including N95 masks, and that all inmates have lesser masks. He said more cleaning, including major sanitizing by an outside contractor, has also helped keep the coronavirus at bay.
— Bruce Vielmetti
6:38 p.m.: No Tommy Bartlett ski show this year, but Exploratory to reopen this week
The Tommy Bartlett Show, a staple of summer in the Wisconsin Dells, is closed for the 2020 season, and hopes to return in 2021.
But operators said Monday the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory, an interactive science center, will reopen to visitors Thursday at 10 a.m. The operation has been closed since March due to statewide safer-at-home orders.
When it reopens, the Exploratory will reduce the number of guests allowed in each area of the attraction to enforce social distancing. Additional hand sanitizing stations have been set up throughout the facility. Staff will sanitize high-touch surfaces.
The Exploratory has 175 interactive exhibits in three buildings for science, space and technology.
4:51 p.m.: Barrett says Milwaukee police have issued quarantine orders for two people who tested positive but refused to stay home
Twice in recent days, Milwaukee police have had to issue quarantine orders for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 but refused to stay home, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said Monday.
Barrett said his understanding was that in one of the cases, the city Health Department learned from a family member concerned that the person who tested positive was going back to work. The Health Department then referred the case to police, he said.
“I don’t know anybody who is going to be supportive of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 who refuse to abide by the quarantine or self-isolation orders,” Barrett said during a daily virtual news conference. “That is where you will start seeing the Police Department getting more involved in an enforcement status."
He said police, until this point, have been primarily educating people about the importance of social distancing.
"It essentially tells people, if you violate this order you can be prosecuted and you can be fined for violating it and there might be other mechanisms as well," Barrett said.
— Alison Dirr
4:44 p.m.: Dane County, Madison announce phased reopening plan
On Monday, Dane County and the City of Madison announced a plan for reopening, including a “safe reopen” phase for businesses effective Tuesday.
The overall plan also includes monitoring nine different data points — in the categories of epidemiology, health care and public health — in anticipation of an overall reopening.
The “safe reopen” is the first of three phases that will occur and each will include fewer restrictions. The first phase includes information on 11 safe business practices.
Dane County Public Health anticipate spending at least two weeks — that’s one COVID-19 incubation period — in each of the three phases “to assess the data and ensure the changes did not cause an unmanageable increase in cases. The metrics and criteria identified in Forward Dane will guide any decision making to move between phases.”
Metrics will be updated weekly here.
The entire Dane County and City of Madison plan can be found here.
— Jim Owczarski
4:42 p.m.: Memorial Day goes virtual
The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs will host a virtual Memorial Day ceremony with Gov. Tony Evers online at www.WisVetsMemorialDay2020.com at 9 a.m. May 25, and Veterans Secretary Mary Kolar will lead a local moment of remembrance at 3 p.m. that day on Facebook.
In the interest of public health and safety, no public ceremonies or large public flag-placing events in Wisconsin's veterans cemeteries will take place — part of a push toward a virtual Memorial Day during the coronavirus pandemic.
Cemeteries will remain open, officials announced Monday, but visitors are encouraged to maintain proper social distancing guidelines or visit on another day.
Read more on the virtual Memorial Day services and its effect on veterans here.
— Jim Owczarski
3:41 p.m.: Wisconsin reports lowest percent positive rate for new tests this month
Wisconsin health officials announced Monday 144 new cases of COVID-19, roughly 2.9% of the total tests run since Sunday — the lowest percent positive number the state has recorded since early May.
Although no longer a prerequisite for the state to reopen under Gov. Tony Evers' now-overturned Badger Bounce Back plan, Monday's low percent positive fell for the second straight day, from a relative high of 8.3% positive tests recorded Friday.
To date, more than 157,000 Wisconsinites have been tested for the coronavirus. Since Sunday, 4,972 tests were run and more than 4,800 of those tests returned negative.
Monday's new cases brought the state's total positives to 12,687, and the state reports that a little over half of those cases have recovered. Six new deaths were reported since Sunday, for a total of 459.
Milwaukee County surpassed 5,000 confirmed coronavirus cases Monday, reporting 132 new cases since Sunday.
The county reported 5,040 cases, including nearly 3,900 cases in the city of Milwaukee, and 236 deaths, according to its online dashboard.
There were 169 people hospitalized with the virus in Milwaukee County, the highest number since May 2 and nine more than were hospitalized on Sunday.
— Madeline Heim
1 p.m.: New York Times reports many delegates don't want to attend DNC
Many of the delegates set to nominate former Vice President Joe Biden at the Democratic National Convention this August in Milwaukee don’t want to attend a full-scale convention due to the health risks, the New York Times reported Monday.
Nine of the 59 delegates the Times interviewed said they planned to attend. Seven said they have made travel arrangements, and only two said they believed it would be safe to travel and attend the event.
One man from Tennessee said he would stay on his boat on Lake Michigan instead of risking exposure to the coronavirus in a hotel. He has already booked a slip.
“Delegates said they are worried about riding public transportation to the convention site and requiring thousands of hotel and arena employees in Milwaukee to work on their behalf in potentially unsafe conditions,” the article reads. “They are also concerned about the possibility that people who come from coronavirus hot spots will spread the virus in Wisconsin.”
The outbreak has forced organizers to move the convention from mid-July to the week of Aug. 17. They have not yet determined how the convention will look: events could proceed full-scale and in-person, or entirely virtually, or in-person but scaled down.
Last week Democrats moved a step closer to allowing delegates to vote virtually. The party’s Rules and Bylaws Committee can now change the dates, format and size of the event.
— Sophie Carson
12:18 p.m.: Brookfield Square reopens
Brookfield Square reopened its doors at 11 a.m. Monday, but many of its stores remained closed.
The mall had been closed since March 17. As of Monday morning, only eight retail stores and eight restaurants inside the mall were listed as being open for curbside pickup, according to the mall's website. But that is likely to change soon.
There will also be many safety restrictions, and the food court will have limited seating for shoppers.
— Evan Casey
12:13 p.m.: In-person Milwaukee Film Festival unlikely
The 2020 Milwaukee Film Festival likely will not be a completely in-person event, because of the public health concerns stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.
"The likelihood of us holding a 15-day, in-person event on the scale of our record-breaking MFF2019 this fall is exceedingly low," Jonathan Jackson, CEO and artistic director of Milwaukee Film, said in an email Monday.
The nonprofit organization is "committed to holding a film festival experience this fall," Jackson said. Milwaukee Film is exploring "virtual platforms" with possible in-person components to replace the traditional, all-in-theaters event, but nothing has been finalized.
"We’ll find a way to make this a true community event," he said.
— Chris Foran
11:11 a.m.: S.C. Johnson ups its coronavirus aid to $15 million
S.C. Johnson has upped its commitment to helping during the coronavirus pandemic to $15 million in financial assistance and product donations, the company announced in a news release Monday.
The Racine-based maker of cleaning products said the resources would go to "medical workers, first responders and pressing public needs in health care, children's education, humanitarian relief and worker training" globally. The company announced a $5 million pledge in March.
This funding includes $540,000 in financial support for rapid-response job training efforts at Gateway Technical College that help people secure employment in high-demand career fields. The training will focus on careers like certified nursing assistants and web developers.
— Sarah Hauer
10:39 a.m.: Third Summerfest 2020 headliner reschedules for next year
A third Summerfest headliner booked for 2020 has rescheduled for 2021.
Chris Stapleton announced Monday morning that his All-American Roadshow Tour will be bumped back to next year. The tour was supposed to stop at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater during Summerfest June 30. It will now take place during Summerfest next year, on July 8.
Two other amphitheater shows booked for this year, with Dave Matthews Band and Halsey, previously postponed their tours to 2021. They will play Summerfest on July 1 and July 3 next year, respectively.
In March, Summerfest officials announced that the festival this year would move, from June 24 to July 5, to Sept. 3 to 5, 10 to 12 and 17 to 19. So far only one amphitheater headliner has rescheduled for the new dates: Sam Hunt, scheduled to play Summerfest Sept. 4. Five other amphitheater acts booked for Summerfest this year, including Justin Bieber and Guns N' Roses, have yet to announce if they'll play the Milwaukee festival this September.
— Piet Levy
SUNDAY, MAY 17
4 p.m.: New hours for National Guard COVID-19 testing sites in Milwaukee
The Milwaukee Health Department has announced new hours for the two free National Guard COVID-19 testing sites in the city.
The sites will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. There will be no testing available at the sites on Sundays.
There are two sites:
Midtown Center at 5825 W. Hope Ave. and UMOS at 2701 S. Chase Ave.
Residents are reminded to call 2-1-1 for any questions or concerns related to COVID-19.
3 p.m.: State reports 356 new cases of COVID-19; deaths stand at 453
The state Department of Health Services on Sunday reported 356 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. The new cases bring the statewide total to 12,543, with 453 deaths.
More than 139,670 people have tested negative for the virus.
As of Sunday afternoon, 364 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Wisconsin. In addition, 184 inpatients are awaiting test results, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association. Of those hospitalized with COVID-19, 131 are in the intensive care unit.
Langlade and Taylor counties remain the only counties with no confirmed cases, according to DHS.
10:35 a.m.: Milwaukee County reports three COVID-19 related deaths; county sees increase in coronavirus cases
Milwaukee County reported 4,943 confirmed cases of coronavirus on Sunday. The number of cases is up nearly 150 from what the county reported Saturday and almost 1,000 new cases since last Sunday, when 3,954 were reported.
The higher numbers, in part, are a result of increased testing by the Wisconsin National Guard that began on Monday with 2,000 people tested the first day.
The county reported that overall 30,418 people had been tested.
The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office reported two COVID-19 related deaths Saturday night; one person who had COVID-19 died of a stroke early Sunday.
The people who died were ages 75, 78 and 83. Two people were Asian or Pacific Islander and the other person was white.
The intensive care units in Milwaukee County were at 61% capacity Sunday morning. Ten percent of those beds are occupied by patients with coronavirus.
— Jordyn Noennig
9:30 a.m.: Governor Evers says virtual Democratic National Convention 'smartest way' forward
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers is the latest politician to say that the Democratic National Convention might need to be held virtually this summer.
The governor appeared on Madison's WKOW-TV Sunday morning and said a virtual DNC would be the "smartest way."
"I think it could happen. It's just my observation it would be a virtual event," Evers said.
Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden said in early April that the DNC 'may have to do a virtual' convention.
The DNC was moved from July to August in hopes that a later start date would be possible amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The event was supposed to be held July 13-16 and attract 50,000 people.
Evers, meanwhile, said on WISN-TV's "Up Front" show that Wisconsin citizens should not expect a "grand bargain" between his administration and the Republican-controlled Legislature.
— Jordyn Noennig
5:49 p.m.: Milwaukee mayor confident that city's stay-home order is legal
Mayor Tom Barrett said Friday he was “very confident” in the legality of the city’s current stay-at-home order.
“Consulting with our city attorney, we are very confident we have strong legal underpinnings for the actions we are taking,” said Barrett, who’s also an attorney.
5:12 p.m.: Religious entities considered essential in City of Racine
The City of Racine announced that religious entities such as churches, synagogues, temples and mosques are now considered essential businesses under the public health department’s local “Safer at Home” order, which is in effect until May 26.
Religious entities are required to use technology to avoid meeting in person, meaning services should be kept virtual as much as possible to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The city has listed these requirements for those planning on hosting in-person religious services:
For buildings with less than or equal to 50,000 square feet of public space: the maximum number of people allowed is equal to 25% of the space’s occupancy load, including staff.
For buildings with more than 50,000 square feet of public space: the maximum number of people allowed is four per 1,000 square feet, excluding staff.
Keep people who do not live together at least six feet apart as much as possible.
Everyone who is able should wear a cloth face covering.
Strongly consider not allowing choirs, as these have spread COVID-19 in the past. If you must have a choir, limit the number of singers, space them out at least six feet apart, and have everyone wear a cloth face covering;
Staff must increase standards of facility cleaning and disinfection to limit exposure to COVID-19, as well as adopting protocols to clean and disinfect in the event of a positive COVID-19 case in the religious entity;
Staff must adopt policies to prevent individuals from entering the premises if they display respiratory symptoms or have had contact with a person with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.
3:20 p.m.: Cudahy rescinds stay-at-home order
Businesses in the City of Cudahy can reopen after officials withdrew a local safer-at-home order Friday.
Cudahy was among several Milwaukee County municipalities to issue local orders after the state Supreme Court overturned Gov. Tony Evers’ stay-at-home order Wednesday.
The reversal by Cudahy was in response to “differing and updated legal guidance,” the city said in a statement.
“The Supreme Court’s order caused a great deal of confusion and uncertainty that has left us and others across the state struggling to determine how to abide by the ruling while continuing to protect the public’s safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cudahy Mayor Tom Pavlic said in a statement. “With the varying guidance and more time to review best practices moving forward, together we’ve determined that we will withdraw our order and instead rely on guidance and recommendations, rather than requirements.”
Cudahy Health Officer Katie Lepak said: “COVID-19 remains a threat in our community and others. It is our hope that the public will continue to take the necessary precautions to slow its spread as we move forward with reopening.”
— Bill Glauber
3:07 p.m.: Technical glitches hound AP exams for high school students
Submission hiccups, registration problems, outdated computer browsers and plain old human error have dampened the rollout of online Advanced Placement exams this week, which hundreds of thousands of students are taking at home because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The College Board, which oversees the college-level courses and exams that can grant students college credit, quickly pivoted in March to create shortened, online versions of the tests. They included safeguards for cheating.
And, remarkably, it’s worked for a majority of students: The College Board said that out of 1.6 million tests taken since testing began Monday, more than 99% have been submitted without a hitch.
But. That remaining 1% — 10,000 students or more — is a vocal bunch.
Hundreds of parents and students have complained on the College Board's Facebook page that they were unfairly shut out of exams by faulty technology or other technical errors.
2:50 p.m.: Milwaukee to offer small business grants
The City of Milwaukee will be offering grants to small businesses to help offset the cost of the changes necessary to reopening during the pandemic, Mayor Tom Barrett announced in a news conference Friday.
The grants from the city will be available for small businesses to purchase personal protective equipment, reconfigure spaces to allow for social distancing, improve electronic payment tools and other ways to operate during the pandemic. The city will award grants to businesses with 20 employees or fewer with revenue under $2 million a year, Barrett said.
This program is intended for small, neighborhood businesses, Barrett said. The city will issue an online application in the coming weeks. The number and size of grants awarded will be determined after the city can gauge interest in the program, Barrett said. He estimated that business will be able to receive up to $15,000 through the program.
The Milwaukee Business Restart Program will be funded with money the city received through the federal CARES Act. The city will receive between $100 million and $105 million in funding through the federal government. Around $20 million could be used for this restart program, Barrett said.
The city hopes the money will be available to businesses in early July.
— Sarah Hauer
2:34 p.m.: Brown County rescinds safer-at-home order
Brown County businesses no longer need to follow a local safer-at-home order that was keeping the county's restaurants and taverns closed.
Health Officer Anna Destree Friday afternoon cited a lack of a legal basis to impose the order in the county, which was an extension of restrictions Gov. Tony Evers had implemented, but that the state Supreme Court had overturned earlier this week.
County officials recommended that residents and visitors continue to follow the guidelines on a voluntary basis, and that businesses follow state-recommended guidelines to reopen safely.
Destree said the health department is considering other options, but didn't elaborate.
"Just because the order goes away doesn't mean there isn't a pandemic," she said at a 2 p.m. news conference.
Taverns in Brown County and around the state opened suddenly on Wednesday evening once Evers' order was overturned. But Destree issued a local order later that evening, and taverns did not reopen on Thursday.
— Doug Schneider
2:30 p.m.: YMCA of Greater Waukesha will re-open four branches Wednesday
The YMCA of Greater Waukesha County announced it will re-open four branches Wednesday in Mukwonago, Waukesha, Menomonee Falls, and New Berlin, as well as its Y Children’s Academy day care.
The group’s two Milwaukee County locations are set to reopen May 22.
“We have carefully and thoughtfully designed a phased re-opening plan that follows CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines and is compliant with local government regulations,” Chris Becker, the organization’s chief executive officer said in a statement Friday.
Floor markings will encourage social distancing and enhanced cleaning will be employed, including members spraying and wiping down equipment after each use.
Face coverings for entry aren’t required, although they are recommended. Masks are not recommended during physical activity.
Capacity at the branches will be monitored.
Locker rooms, saunas, steam rooms and whirlpools will be closed. Towel service is suspended, as is equipment check out.
— Bill Glauber
2:15 p.m.: Record number of tests and steady positive percentage across state
Friday's state update on coronavirus numbers could tell a few different stories, depending on how you look at it.
The state's new positive cases totaled 410, bringing the overall total to 11,685. That's the second-highest increase since the state began testing, and it comes two days after the state Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers' order restricting businesses and public gatherings.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, however, that COVID-19 symptoms take between two and 14 days to appear, so newly positive tests can't be tied to the court's action.
The state also announced the results of 6,469 tests, breaking the previous test record set Thursday by more than 600. The percent of new tests that were positive for the virus Friday was 6.3% — the exact same as the average over the previous six days, despite the uptick in new cases.
So, more people were tested, and more people were found positive.
On May 1, when the state saw its single-day high for new cases at 460, the percent of new tests that were positive was twice as high — 12.7%
Meanwhile, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has been largely stagnant.
There were 356 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Friday morning, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, while 182 inpatients awaited test results.
That's 15 fewer hospitalizations than were reported on May 1. Hospitalizations have only dipped below 300 once since April 6, and peaked at 446 on April 9. Since April 17, the high point is 361.
The state's count of total deaths rose by 11 on Friday, to 445.
— Matt Piper
12:32 p.m.: The Corners in Brookfield opens for first time since March
The Corners of Brookfield is open for business for the first time since March.
Fifteen of the 34 stores and restaurants at The Corners planned to open Friday, including Anthropologie, Sendik’s Food Market, Tempur-Pedic and Wisconsin Vision. Von Maur previously announced it was opening Friday.
Bel Air Cantina, Café Hollander, FreshFin Poke, Goddess & The Baker, Grimaldi’s and Wahlburgers will remain open for pickup and delivery services only.
Safety measures for customers and staff include hourly cleaning and disinfection of common areas, including doors, bathrooms, tables and seating areas, stairwells, escalators and elevators. Ground markings at 6-feet intervals will be placed throughout the complex.
— Evan Casey
12:01 p.m.: Waukesha Rotary Club cancels BluesFest scheduled for August
The Waukesha Rotary Club announced the 14th annual Waukesha Rotary BluesFest that was scheduled for Aug. 7-8 at Naga-Waukee Park in Delafield has been canceled. Organizers said the decision to cancel was made due to the uncertainty and logistical challenges brought on from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This was a very difficult decision," said BluesFest Chairman Kip Rupple. "But Plans are already underway for next year's Waukesha Rotary BluesFest to be held August 13 and 14, 2021."
— Evan Frank
11:00 a.m.: Goodwill reopening its donation centers
Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin reopened most of its stores and donation centers Friday.
The stores will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Goodwill has implemented numerous safety measures, including requiring all customers and employees to wear face masks. Goodwill won't provide face masks for customers.
Plexiglas guards have also been placed at the registers.
There will also be a no-contact donation process for donors at the dropoff location. All donations will be stored for at least 72 hours before they are handled by employees and made available for sale to the public.
— Evan Frank
10:02 a.m.: Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame postpones ceremony featuring Brett Favre and Jordy Nelson
The 70th annual Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame, which was scheduled to add Packers greats Brett Favre and Jordy Nelson into its ranks, has postponed its June 5 induction ceremony.
The event, emceed by Donald Driver and also honoring Barry Alvarez with a Lifetime Achievement Award, will be rescheduled for later in the year.
“We look forward to this historic event taking place later this year, executive director Brian Lammi said. "We are confident that we will deliver a safety-approved, premier event that will feature a personal experience combined with media/virtual access that will allow us to reach even more fans than ever before."
The ceremony was scheduled to take place in Madison. Bronze plaques of the inductees can be found outside UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena in Milwaukee.
— JR Radcliffe
9:10 a.m.: Zoo a la Carte canceled for 2020
Zoo a la Carte, originally scheduled for Aug. 20-23, has been canceled. The Milwaukee County Zoo plans to resume the annual "feast with the beasts" in 2021.
For 35 years, local restaurants have set up booths at the Milwaukee County Zoo to sell samplings of their food for a weekend in August. The festival also features local and national bands.
— Amy Schwabe
8:33 a.m.: ProHealth Care is loosening hospital visitation rules
Effective immediately, one visitor per patient will be allowed at ProHealth Waukesha Memorial Hospital and ProHealth Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital. A patient should have the same visitor throughout a hospital stay, rather than a succession of different visitors.
Patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and those who are suspected of having the virus will not be allowed visitors.
All visitors must be 18 or older, and all visitors must wear a mask at all times within the hospital.
All visitors will be screened at the hospital entries. Any visitor who has a fever or other signs of illness will be asked to leave.
Anyone who is feeling unwell is strongly encouraged not to visit a hospital or other health care facility unless it is to seek care.
— Debi Eimer
8:27 a.m.: Kenosha County withdraws own safer-at-home provision
Kenosha County announced it was immediately withdrawing its local action that continued the provisions of the state’s safer-at-home order.
Businesses in Kenosha County can now reopen without risk of penalty or prosecution, although local officials strongly urged people to continue observing the public health guidelines outlined in Safer-at-Home.
The county was one of several localities that had issued local orders through May 26, consistent with the order established by Gov. Tony Evers. After the Wisconsin Supreme Court's decision to overturn that order, Kenosha County elected to apply that ruling to its own edict.
“The Supreme Court’s order caused a great deal of confusion and uncertainty last night that left us and others across the state struggling to determine how to abide by the ruling while continuing to protect the public’s safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kenosha County Corporation Counsel Joseph Cardamone said. “Tonight, with varying guidance from the Wisconsin Counties Association and more time to review best practices moving forward, together we’ve determined that we will withdraw our order and instead view Safer-at Home as a series of best practices, rather than requirements.”
— JR Radcliffe
7:43 a.m.: Milwaukee County clears 4,600 virus cases
Milwaukee County reported 98 new coronavirus cases and four more deaths between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.
That puts countywide totals at nearly 4,600 cases and 233 deaths, according to the county’s online coronavirus dashboard.
The number of new cases reported daily has fluctuated in recent weeks, but Thursday’s 117 new cases marked the third day in a row that more than 100 new cases were reported in Milwaukee County. Wednesday’s batch of 137 new cases represents the high-water mark for the county over the course of the pandemic.
Hospitalizations, however, have continued a slow downward trend, with 146 patients reported as of Thursday. More than half of the county’s hospital beds are occupied.
— Elliot Hughes
THURSDAY, MAY 14
8:58 p.m.: Milwaukee County facing budget shortfall
Milwaukee County is facing a shortfall of at least $100 million in revenue this year because of the coronavirus pandemic — and that’s just the start of the financial fallout from the public health crisis.
“Our local businesses and corporations are definitely feeling the pain, but we are, too, here at Milwaukee County,” County Executive David Crowley said during a Thursday news briefing.
The county has spent $40 million in direct costs to address COVID-19. Those costs include personal protective equipment, cleaning and sanitation, a temporary homeless shelter, a temporary morgue and the Unified Emergency Operations Center.
“We’re going to continue to work with the governor and our federal delegation to secure flexible and direct funding for local governments so we can continue to provide critical services for all of our residents across all 19 municipalities,” Crowley said.
The County Board of Supervisors has unanimously called on federal officials to approve a $500 billion emergency stabilization aid package for counties and cities across America.
“We are facing a massive budget gap next year as a result of the coronavirus," Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson said Thursday in a news release. "Without additional support from the federal government, we will not be able to adequately fund essential public services."
In total, Milwaukee County could face a $450 million impact on its budget through new costs and lost revenue, according to Crowley.
The county already has implemented a freeze on hiring, overtime and new contracts, travel and professional development, and furloughed 775 employees. The furloughs do not have an end date but will be reviewed no later than July 31, according to a county budget report. If furloughs remain through the end of July, the county would save about $3 million.
The number of furloughed employees is likely to increase to nearly 1100 employees, representing about 31% of the county's active workforce, according to a release from the Board of Supervisors.
County budget projections show $39 million of lost revenue at Mitchell International Airport and another $66 million of lost revenue in other departments for 2020.
County sales tax revenue is estimated to be $20 million less than what was budgeted for the year. County departments that rely on fees and service charges to offset costs — including the parks, zoo, transit and House of Correction — are expected to lose about $35 million in revenue.
Milwaukee County was given $62 million under the federal CARES Act to use for expenses related to COVID-19. The federal grant has restrictions that prevent the county from using it to offset revenue loss in most areas and requires the money be spent on costs “substantially dedicated” to responding to the pandemic.
The county budget office is preparing to recommend budget adjustments in June or July to reflect the changing financial situation.
— Ashley Luthern
7:51 p.m.: Mequon's Gathering on the Green concerts postponed until next year
Mequon's Gathering on the Green has been canceled due to coronavirus concerns, but scheduled headliners Cheap Trick and Trace Adkins have agreed to come back and play the two-day concert series next summer.
Cheap Trick, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers from Rockford, Illinois, and Adkins, a country singer, were scheduled to headline each night of the Gathering on the Green concert series on July 10-11 in Mequon's Rotary Park.
Rob Kos, executive director for Gathering on the Green, said the decision to postpone their performances until next summer was made after consulting with local government officials, health officials and the artists.
"Our primary concern is for the health and well-being of our guests, volunteers, workers, staff and artists," Kos said. "This move was the best and most responsible solution. "
Adkins' performance has been rescheduled for July 9, 2021. Cheap Trick's concert has been rescheduled for July 10, 2021.
Those who already bought tickets to this year's concert will be able to use their tickets next year or get a refund. Tickets for the 2021 concert are on sale at www.gatheringonthegreen.org.
— Jeffrey Rumage
7:19 p.m.: Barbershops, salons allowed to open in Milwaukee
Bars and restaurants are still closed, and gatherings of more than nine people are still prohibited, but businesses like hair salons, barber shops, nail salons and day spas can again open in the City of Milwaukee.
The new order, which went into effect Thursday afternoon, mirrors the order set by 18 municipalities in suburban Milwaukee County and their 10 public health officials.
Those municipalities include: Cudahy, Franklin, Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners, Oak Creek, the North Shore suburbs (Bayside, Brown Deer, Fox Point, Glendale, River Hills, Shorewood, and Whitefish Bay), South Milwaukee, St. Francis, Wauwatosa, West Allis and West Milwaukee.
— Mary Spicuzza
7:14 p.m.: Racing returns to the Slinger Speedway
Racing will officially be back at Slinger Speedway on Sunday.
And, after the lifting of the safer-at-home orders for the state, there will be a limited number of fans in the stands for the 73rd racing season at the track.
Slinger promoter Todd Thelen said that Slinger is going to allow in 25% of the 10,000 people that, per the track's permit, are normally allowed at the facility. That includes racers and their crews.
Online ticket sales are available at Slinger's website. Thelen did not mention how many tickets would be sold, but said he expects to sell all of them.
— Ben Steele
4:02 p.m.: Milwaukee-area law enforcement will still enforce regulations in some communities
In the wake of Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide order being struck down, several Milwaukee-area law enforcement agencies said Thursday they would continue enforcing similar orders from their respective health departments.
Officials from police departments in West Allis, Wauwatosa, South Milwaukee and Greenfield said officers would enforce their local orders, which closely mirror the statewide safer-at-home order struck down by the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday.
All four departments said they are mostly focused on educating members of the public about the orders and would seek the public’s cooperation. But police in West Allis, Wauwatosa and South Milwaukee did not rule out citations.
In Milwaukee, Sgt. Sheronda Grant said officials were consulting with the city attorney’s office before announcing any changes to enforcement. While the statewide safer-at-home order was in effect, the department stated multiple times it was willing to cite or pursue criminal charges against repeat violators.
Meanwhile, Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith said his officers will investigate people and businesses that violate the county's order, but will not cite or arrest anyone. The Brown County Sheriff’s Office also released a statement asking for the public’s voluntary compliance.
State law allows for law enforcement to punish violators of a public health order – whether it’s issued by state or local governments – with a $500 fine or 30 days in jail. The same language is repeated in the public health order issued by Milwaukee County.
— Elliot Hughes
2:18 p.m.: All but two Wisconsin counties now have confirmed cases of virus
Langlade and Taylor counties are the final two counties in Wisconsin as of Thursday without a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Burnett and Pepin counties had no cases until Thursday. Each county has one confirmed case, and Burnett County has a confirmed death, according to a report from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Langlade and Taylor counties are in central Wisconsin. Burnett and Pepin counties border Minnesota. Wisconsin has 72 counties.
As of Thursday afternoon, there have been 11,275 total cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin and 434 deaths.
— Jordan Tilkens
12:17 p.m.: Don't expect most indoor movie theaters to be open before June
Most movie theaters in the Milwaukee area and the rest of Wisconsin don’t plan to reopen till June, or even later.
Despite the state Supreme Court’s ruling Wednesday shelving Gov. Tony Evers' stay-at-home order, theater operators say they need the time to bring back employees, retool their spaces and processes to accommodate social distancing and other safe practices, and make sure their theaters are cleaned and ready to go.
“We were one of the first businesses to close locally, and we closed prior to the order going into effect in our state for the safety of our staff and customers, so the order and its being lifted at the state level does not really impact us much, especially considering the local ordinance still in effect,” Jonathan Jackson, CEO and artistic director for Milwaukee Film, said via email.
Milwaukee Film operates the Oriental Theatre; the east side movie place shut down March 14, and is still under the City of Milwaukee’s stay-at-home order.
At this point, there is no firm date for when the Oriental will reopen. “When we do open, know it will be different, with more precautions and restrictions in place for the safety of our team and our patrons,” Jackson said. The reopening date will be determined by safety considerations for workers and moviegoers, he said, “but also, importantly, having great films to draw audiences.”
Most of the state's drive-in theaters expect to be opened by the end of May, although the Highway 18 Outdoor in Jefferson says on its website that it is planning to open June 19.
— Chris Foran
10:54 a.m.: WCTC Small Business Center moving summer courses and workshops online
Waukesha County Technical College's (WCTC) Small Business Center is moving all of its non-credit workshops and courses this summer designed for small business owners and entrepreneurs online.
The classes will be held using the Zoom video conferencing tool, with the exception of QuickBooks Pro Level 1 and How to Start a Food Business, which have been canceled for the summer, according to a WCTC news release.
“COVID-19 has slowed us down, but it won’t stop us nor the entrepreneurs we serve,” said Russ Roberts, executive director of the SBC, in the release. “The WCTC Small Business Center remains open and ready to deliver the same top-notch courses, only virtually. In addition, free coaching by phone or via Zoom is always available.”
Classes will start in June. They will cover topics such as start-up basics, business planning, accounting/taxes, marketing/sales, social media and more. Offerings include FaStart Workshop, Business Plan Development, Organize Business Finances, Social Media for Business and LinkedIn Marketing.
The SBC webpage has dates and times of course offerings, along with programming for fall 2020.
— Alec Johnson
10:37 a.m.: George Takei slams justice who compared stay-at-home to Japanese internment camps
Actor George Takei slammed Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley over her repeated references to Japanese internment camps in the debate over Wisconsin's stay-at-home order.
"Justice Rebecca Bradley of the WI Supreme Ct compared WI’s stay-at-home order to 'assembling together and placing under guard all those of Japanese ancestry in assembly centers during World War II.' I'm in my own home watching Netflix. It’s not an internment camp. Trust me," Takei tweeted Thursday morning.
Takei, a famous Japanese-American actor, wrote a 2019 graphic novel memoir titled "They Called Us Enemy," about his childhood years in an internment camp during World War II. He was in the camps from ages 5 to 9.
During World War II, approximately 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, most of whom were U.S. citizens or legal permanent resident aliens, were forced into evacuations and mass incarcerations by the federal government.
Bradley suggested the state's stay-at-home order is "the very definition of tyranny," during last week's Supreme Court hearing.
— Mary Spicuzza
10:31 a.m.: Ozaukee, Washington counties haven't issued any additional stay-at-home orders
Ozaukee and Washington counties have not issued any additional stay-at-home orders in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to block Gov. Tony Evers’ safer-at-home order.
The Washington Ozaukee Health Department is working with leaders of both counties to identify next steps.
Businesses are able to open at this time, but they are encouraged to follow the guidelines detailed in a 44-page "Blueprint for Reopening" document released last month.
The document was designed to take effect after the state's safer-at-home order was lifted.
The guidelines allow businesses, churches and other organizations to reopen, with suggestions for maintaining social distancing, wearing face masks and disinfecting surfaces.
Restaurants, for example, should be limited to 50% capacity under the health department's guidelines. Customers should be encouraged to use hand sanitizer upon entering the restaurant, and tables should be spaced 6 feet apart. Condiments should be taken off the tables, and menus should either be sanitized or thrown away between customers.
Gyms and yoga studios should be restricted to 25% capacity, and employees and customers should be screened for symptoms, according to the guidelines. Surfaces should be disinfected regularly, and people should be encouraged to use face masks.
The blueprint plan states retail stores should be limited to 50% capacity. Churches should be limited to 50 people or 25% capacity, whichever is higher, according to the guidelines.
Public and private schools will remain closed for this academic year, according to the guidelines.
— Jeff Rumage
10:03 a.m.: Casinos to remain closed down until at least May 26
Hang on to your dice and your cash – Wisconsin Indian casinos will remain closed until at least May 26, said Shannon Holsey, president of the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council.
The Wednesday state Supreme Court decision striking down Gov. Tony Evers' stay-at-home order does not affect similar orders issued by each of Wisconsin’s 11 tribes, said Holsey, who is also president of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican tribe.
The tribal orders generally mirror the Evers order, though some go further and impose curfews or limit visitors to the reservation.
“We respectfully ask all visitors to stay home until we determine the safest way to reopen the Reservation,” the Lac du Flambeau Chippewa tribe said in a statement. “The last thing we as a tribe want is someone traveling hours to get here only to find out that access to tribal lands is limited to permanent residents only.”
When casinos do reopen, they will likely have fewer slot machines and no bingo or table games, Holsey said. Tribal leaders are currently determining how to safely place slot machines in casinos in a way that abides by social distancing rules. They are also discussing how to gradually reintroduce table games, such as craps and poker, and bingo, Holsey said.
— Cary Spivak
9:57 a.m.: Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow: 'Be smart, be vigilant and stay safe'
Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow sent out a news release after the Wisconsin Supreme Court's decision to strike down the safer-at-home order by Gov. Tony Evers.
"In light of the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling, many businesses that have been closed will choose to open their doors tomorrow, and many others will choose to expand their operations," Farrow wrote. "We trust our businesses will do so responsibly. All Waukesha County businesses should continue to follow CDC guidelines for social distancing and cleaning and disinfecting whenever possible."
Farrow said the county continues to have an active and aggressive response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The County's Public Health Division, Emergency Operations Center, and other departments and divisions are working to keep residents as safe as possible while allowing our economy to recover from the effects of COVID-19," Farrow wrote.
Farrow said that while there is no longer a safer-at-home order, there is still COVID-19 in our community.
"Be smart, be vigilant, and stay safe," Farrow wrote.
— Evan Frank
9:48 a.m.: Playgrounds, hair salons can open in several Milwaukee County communities
Under a local order from 18 municipalities in suburban Milwaukee County and their 10 public health officials, bars and restaurants are still closed, but playgrounds and hair salons aren't (with some restrictions).
The order, which was released shortly before 1 a.m. Thursday, came after the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the statewide stay-at-home order. Local officials say the order was "effective immediately," and will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. May 21.
The municipalities include: Cudahy, Franklin, Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners, Oak Creek, the North Shore suburbs (Bayside, Brown Deer, Fox Point, Glendale, River Hills, Shorewood, and Whitefish Bay), South Milwaukee, St. Francis, Wauwatosa, West Allis and West Milwaukee.
The order says bars, taverns and restaurants are still closed for in-person dining and drinking but can continue to provide pickup, curbside and delivery services.
But it allows hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, day spas, electrolysis providers, waxing salons, eyebrow-care establishments, tattoo parlors, body art establishments, and tanning facilities to open with social distancing and other protective measures in place.
The order also says team and contact sports and team recreation activities are prohibited, but outdoor playground equipment may be used if physical distancing and protective measures (such as sanitizing equipment) are followed.
Public beaches will be open for walking, running or biking, but social distancing is required. Swimming, as well as team and contact sports, on public beaches is still prohibited.
Amusement parks, zoos, museums, carnivals, water parks and other places of public amusement shall remain closed. Driving ranges may open with physical distancing and protective measures in place.
— Mary Spicuzza
8:58 a.m.: UPAF 'Ride for the Arts' event goes virtual
As a creative alternative to complications imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, the United Performing Arts Fund is turning this year's Ride for the Arts, sponsored by Miller Lite, into a virtual event June 14.
UPAF's “An Event for All” will allow participants to ride, walk or run anywhere with anyone from any starting point.
UPAF raises operating funds for performing arts organizations such as the Milwaukee Symphony and Milwaukee Repertory Theater. It also provides one-time grants to arts organizations. Several weeks ago it reported that its 14 member groups are projecting a collective $8.3 million loss in revenue this season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
People can register for this year's virtual event with a minimum $40 donation, in honor of the ride’s 40th anniversary, at upafride.org either as an individual or as a member of a team. All registrants will receive a commemorative UPAF Ride shirt and 25% off registration for the 2021 UPAF Ride.
In a statement announcing the switch to a virtual event, UPAF President and CEO Deanna Tillisch noted, "We had already planned to add a new dimension to the Ride this year to accommodate individuals with disabilities so these options help to fulfill this goal."
UPAF also previously extended its annual fundraising campaign until Aug. 3
— Jim Higgins
7:45 a.m.: County reports 59 more cases, two more deaths
Milwaukee County reported 59 new cases of the coronavirus and two more deaths between Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.
That brings countywide totals to more than 4,300 cases and 229 deaths, according to the county’s online coronavirus dashboard.
Hospitalizations continued a small downward trend, with 150 patients listed as of May 13, down from a peak of 267 on April 12. The percentage of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients remained steady at 9%.
More than half the county’s hospital beds are occupied, while about a quarter of ventilators are currently in use, the dashboard said.
— Elliot Hughes
7:16 a.m.: President Donald Trump tweets about Wisconsin's Supreme Court ruling
President Donald Trump tweeted praise for the ruling Wednesday by the Wisconsin Supreme Court to strike down the statewide safer-at-home ruling issued by Gov. Tony Evers.
"The Great State of Wisconsin, home to Tom Tiffany’s big Congressional Victory on Tuesday, was just given another win. Its Democrat Governor was forced by the courts to let the State Open," Trump wrote Thursday morning. "The people want to get on with their lives. The place is bustling!"
The Republican Tiffany won a special election Tuesday to replace Rep. Sean Duffy in the state's 7th Congressional District in northern Wisconsin.
— JR Radcliffe
7:09 a.m.: City, County of Milwaukee maintain stay-at-home orders
Milwaukee's March stay-at-home order is still in effect, Mayor Tom Barrett said in a statement.
The order does not have an end date.
Despite the state Supreme Court striking down the statewide mandate by Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday, public gatherings and normal restaurant and bar operations are not allowed in the city of Milwaukee. However, bars, restaurants and taverns in the city are still allowed to provide takeout, curbside pickup and delivery.
Elsewhere in Milwaukee County, 18 municipalities and their 10 public health officials issued an order early Thursday stipulating that bars and restaurants remain closed, while public gatherings remain limited to no more than nine people in Milwaukee County.
The county order said hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, day spas, electrolysis providers, waxing salons, eyebrow-care establishments, tattoo parlors, body art establishments and tanning facilities may open with social distancing and other protective measures in place.
Retail establishments, including shopping malls, may open as long as patrons are limited to 25% of the building's occupancy limits.
"I commend the public health officers representing the 19 Milwaukee County municipalities for operating with urgency to put orders in place that protect our communities," said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley in a statement.
— Elliot Hughes
WEDNESDAY, MAY 13
2:45 p.m.: Names of care centers with COVID-19 cases released by DHS
After weeks of declining to name nursing homes with coronavirus cases, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services released a list of 38 such facilities on Wednesday.
The list does not include nursing homes with fewer than 10 beds or facilities that had coronavirus outbreaks in the past but had not seen new cases in 28 days. The state health department did not release any other information, such as the number of coronavirus cases or deaths, at each facility.
Long-term care trade associations in Wisconsin urged the public not to assume that facilities with outbreaks have poor practices.
"This is not a list of failures," said John Sauer, chief executive and president of LeadingAge Wisconsin, on Saturday. "This is a list of facilities who have had a staff member or resident with COVID-19."
As of Tuesday, long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities made up just 6% of the state’s coronavirus cases, but 43% of the state’s deaths.
State and local health officials in Wisconsin declined to release the names of nursing homes with coronavirus outbreaks for more than a month, citing “patient privacy” concerns.
But the federal government took a different tack in April, ordering nursing homes to report the number of coronavirus cases and deaths directly to the CDC and declaring it would make the information public. The new federal requirements came after weeks of mounting pressure from advocates and lawmakers concerned about transparency at long-term care facilities.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett praised the move.
"I'm very pleased with the decision to release these names, and it's not to embarrass individual nursing homes or long term care facilities," Barrett said.
"But I look at it from the perspective of if I had a parent who was either in one of these homes or was going to go into one of these homes, or if I had a son or daughter who was working in one of these homes or was interested in working on the homes, you can bet your life I would want to know what the status was," the mayor said.
He stressed that it doesn't mean any of the facilities are "a bad place."
"Whether it's meatpacking companies, whether it's nursing homes, whether it's government agencies. I think it makes sense to have transparency," Barrett added.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services plans to publish the database — including facility names, number of cases and number of deaths — by the end of May.
The nursing homes in Wisconsin with confirmed coronavirus cases, and under active investigation, are:
- Waukesha County: The Franciscan Place Rehab, Menomonee Falls Healthcare Center, Lindengrove Menomonee Falls, Kensington Care and Rehab Center, Crossroads Care Center of Pewaukee and Brookfield Rehabilitation and Specialty Care
- Washington County: Virginia Highlands Health and Rehab
- Walworth County: Holton Manor and Geneva Lake Manor
- St. Croix County: Baldwin Care Center
- Sheboygan County: Sunny Ridge and Rocky Knoll Health Care Center
- Sauk County: SSM Health Saint Clare Meadows Care Center
- Rock County: St. Elizabeth Nursing Home, Oak Park, Green Knolls at Beloit, Evansville Manor, Autumn Lake Healthcare at Beloit
- Racine County: Ridgewood Care Center and Bay at Burlington Health and Rehabilitation Center
- Outagamie County: St. Paul Elder Services
- Milwaukee County: Villa at Bradley Estates, Symphony of Glendale Nursing Home, Sunrise Care Center, Maple Ridge Health and Rehabilitation Center, Lutheran Home for the Aging, Jewish Home & Care Center, Heritage Square Health Care Center, Edenbrook Lakeside, Crossroads Care Center, Cameo Care Center - Autumn Lake Healthcare at Greenfield, Allis Care Center, Alexian Village of Milwaukee
- Grant County: Orchard Manor
- Forest County: The Bay at Nu-Roc Community Health and Rehabilitation Center
- Dane County: The Villa at Middleton Village
- Brown County: Odd Fellows Nursing Home, Grancare Nursing Center
— Daphne Chen and Mary Spicuzza
2:10 p.m.: Wisconsin new case count spikes after two-day dip
After two days with fewer than 200 new cases of coronavirus and a 50-day low in percent of tests that came back positive, Wisconsin saw a more typical update Wednesday, with 291 newly reported cases and an uptick in the percent-positive rate to 6.25%
Tuesday, the percent of new tests that were positive was 3.9%, the lowest since the state stopped including repeated tests of the same patients in its daily reports. Wisconsin hasn't reached double digits in that number since May 3, when the percent of new tests that were positive was 11%.
Three more people died of COVID-19 by the state's official count, bringing the total to 421.
The Wisconsin Hospital Association reported Wednesday morning that 343 people were currently hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19, while 169 inpatients awaited test results.
However, by Wednesday's state health department update, Wisconsin continued to meet five of the six criteria outlined by Gov. Tony Evers to begin a phased lifting of safer-at-home restrictions.
The only light still showing as "red" on the Department of Health Services' dashboard is a statistically significant, two-week downward trend in emergency department visits with flu-like illnesses. Such illnesses have trended slightly downward, but not enough to meet the state's definition of statistical significance.
— Matt Piper
7:43 a.m.: Milwaukee County reports two more virus-related deaths
Milwaukee County reported 27 new cases of COVID-19 and two more deaths between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning.
That puts the county at more than 4,200 confirmed cases and 224 deaths, according to the county’s online coronavirus dashboard.
Hospitalizations continued on a slow decline, with 154 coronavirus patients in the county as of Tuesday. More than half of the county’s hospital beds are occupied, according to the dashboard, but 9% are in use by coronavirus patients, down from a high of 20% on April 12.
A quarter of the county’s ventilators are currently in use, the dashboard said.
— Elliot Hughes
TUESDAY, MAY 13
5:10 p.m. F-16 Fighting Falcons will start Wisconsin flyovers about 5:48 p.m.
Beginning at approximately 5:48 p.m. and concluding just after 7:30 p.m., the 115th Fighter Wing from the Wisconsin Air National Guard will conduct a flyover to recognize health care workers and first responders, beginning in Kenosha and traveling counter-clockwise around the state before passing over Madison.
Four F-16 Fighting Falcons, along with Milwaukee’s 128th Air Refueling Wing, will be airborne around the state Tuesday evening as part of a nationwide effort called Operation American Resolve.
In a statement, Col. Jon Kalberer, 115th Operations Group commander, said: “We are excited to be able to show our gratitude to our partners and heroes in our communities. To further this, some of the pilots performing the flyover have spouses who work on healthcare teams.
"We think it is especially important to recognize their effort by having their spouse perform this outreach of support, in honor of Military Spouse Appreciation Day, which was on May 8. Coming together during times of uncertainty is the American way, and the reason that citizen Airmen in the Air National Guard serve. We want to show our support for that effort, as we are all in this together.”
Residents in the flyover areas are encouraged to view it from home and while maintaining proper social distancing guidelines. Gatherings of large groups or traveling to areas such as hospitals are discouraged.
The 115th Fighter Wing is based out of Traux Field Air National Guard Base in Madison.
— Jim Owczarski
4:33 p.m.: Racine County sees spike in virus cases
Shortly after Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett expressed some concern over spiking coronavirus cases in neighboring southeastern counties on Tuesday, Racine County announced it has 774 confirmed cases with 164 probable cases. Sixteen people have died in the county due to the virus.
The City of Racine has 502 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and according to the report, the city has seen a jump of nearly 300 cases since the beginning of May.
The county also reported 1,945 negative tests 62 recovered cases.
– Jim Owczarski
3:39 p.m.: Nearly 2,000 people tested at new community testing sites
Nearly 2,000 people were tested for COVID-19 Monday at two new community testing sites in Milwaukee operated by the Wisconsin National Guard.
Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp, the state’s Adjutant General, said Tuesday that 954 people were tested at the UMOS location, and 965 were tested at Midtown Center, for a total of 1,919 tests complete during the National Guard's first day of testing in the City of Milwaukee.
Due to high demand for the tests, additional lanes were created to offer more tests.
Knapp said that as of Tuesday, 21 of 25 testing teams are working at 16 different testing sites around the state.
"We started with just free mobile test teams and expanded this effort to 25 teams," Knapp said. "By tomorrow all 25 teams will be actively performing this mission, all over the state of Wisconsin in more than a dozen counties."
The National Guard has collected more than 17,000 specimens, which included an increase of more than 4000 collected in the last 24 hours, Knapp said.
On Tuesday, the National Guard also activated about 160 service members to help with the 7th Congressional district election "due to a sort of shortage of poll workers," Knapp said.
"They are properly trained, just like any other poll worker, and will be wearing civilian clothing and will observe the physical distancing guidelines that have been established at these polling sites," Knapp said.
Guard members are also showing support from the sky.
Wisconsin Air National Guard pilots in F-16s are flying over cities Tuesday to salute health care workers and first responders on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
Pilots from the 115th Fighter Wing, based in Madison, are participating in Operation American Resolve, a national campaign to show appreciation to folks battling COVID-19 and everyone supporting them.
— Mary Spicuzza
3:19 p.m.: World's Largest Brat Fest in Madison canceled for 2020
The World's Largest Brat Fest in Madison has now been canceled outright due to the coronavirus pandemic, per WMTV-NBC in Madison. The annual festival, drawing roughly 125,000 participants over three days, is usually held on Memorial Day weekend was initially postponed until Aug. 28-30.
The 2021 event has been scheduled for May 28-30, 2021 at the Alliant Energy Center, with musical headliners expected to be announced in January.
— Jim Owczarski
2:28 p.m.: State meets five of six goals required for next phase of reopening
For a second straight day, there were fewer than 200 newly confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wisconsin, and Tuesday's update included another encouraging number: Fewer than 4% of all tests were positive for the virus.
Following Tuesday's results, Wisconsin had met five of six criteria set by Gov. Tony Evers to begin a phased reopening of the state.
Of more than 4,900 tests, 193 returned positive, the lowest number of positive tests announced since April 27 and the lowest portion of new tests that were positive — 3.9% — since the state stopped including repeated tests of the same patients in its daily updates on March 30.
Nine more people had died of COVID-19, however, increasing the state's total to 418.
As of Tuesday morning, there were 326 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Wisconsin, while 188 inpatients awaited test results, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association. Of the hospitals' 1,261 ventilators, 325 were in use.
For each category of personal protective equipment tracked by the WHA — face shields, goggles, gowns and N95 and paper masks — at least 30 hospitals reported that they had less than a week's worth remaining.
— Matt Piper
11:56 a.m.: Survey: Small business owners in Wisconsin want immediate re-opening
Most Wisconsin small business owners want the state's economy to completely reopen immediately, according to a recent survey of NFIB members.
Results from the survey of around 300 NFIB Wisconsin small business owners were released Tuesday.
The vast majority of respondents — 73% — said it would be "the appropriate time to lift the non-essential business and stay-at-home restrictions" here "immediately." Another 15% said the restrictions should be lifted "in the next 30 days." The stay-at-home order is set to expire May 26.
Those respondents are not worried about the potential repercussions of reopening Wisconsin's economy too early. Sixty-four percent of respondents said they were "not at all concerned" about lifting restrictions in Wisconsin "too early." The overwhelming majority of respondents — 87% — said the state's non-essential business closure order is "too restrictive."
“Although recent action taken by Governor Tony Evers that allows some retail businesses to open turns the dial in the right direction, the survey results clearly show Wisconsin’s small business community is eager and anxious to reopen,” said NFIB State Director in Wisconsin, Bill G. Smith in a news release. “Small business owners and their employees want to get to work. The reopening of our economy is critical to the survival of thousands of small Main Street businesses located in communities throughout out state.”
— Sarah Hauer
11:51 a.m.: Pick 'n Save and Kroger Health will provide free testing at Bradley Center site
Pick ‘n Save and Kroger Health will provide free, drive-through COVID-19 testing in Milwaukee at the former BMO Harris Bradley Center, located at 1001 Vel R. Phillips Ave.
People will need to register at: http://krogerhealth.com/covidtesting
The tests will be conducted by appointment from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the following dates: May 14, 15,18, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28 and 29.
Eligibility will be established by a virtual screening tool based on guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with recommendations from state and local government, the company said.
Those determined to be eligible can select an appointment time, and registrants will then receive an email confirmation with pre-appointment paperwork.
Each person getting a test should have a photo ID at the site and leave their car windows rolled up until a Pick ‘n Save pharmacy associate approaches the car and advises the patient when to roll down the window, the company said.
The drive-through testing location will have a self-administered nasal swab that must be ordered and observed by a provider. Kroger said it's determined this testing method increases the number of tests that can be provided while conserving personal protective equipment.
As many as 260 people per day will likely get tested at the site, the company said. Results are expected within approximately 72 hours.
"This work, like all the work we do, is guided by our values and Our Promise to Feed the Human Spirit," said Colleen Lindholz, President of Kroger Health. "As we continue to create partnerships that offer easy-to-access testing, we are proud of our commitment to serving our customers and our communities. The Kroger Co. will donate all professional services at the drive-through testing facilities, including orders and observing the COVID-19 test."
The service will use lab services provided by eTrueNorth, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contractor.
"We are excited for our Pick 'n Save pharmacy team to work with Kroger Health to provide free COVID-19 testing," said Michael Marx, President, Roundy's Division. "Testing is one of the most important tools in the fight to slow the spread of the Coronavirus."
— Mary Spicuzza
11:10 a.m.: Saturday charity event will offer drive-thru for Milwaukee goods
The same charity that raised more than $25,000 for a handful of Milwaukee restaurants at the start of the coronavirus pandemic plans to raise more funds with a Save Our Spots charity event on Saturday.
More than a dozen businesses will come together from noon to 5 p.m. for "Drive Thru Services," where guests can purchase beers and specially themed cookies in a no contact setting.
The event, which will be held at Milwaukee Brewing Co., 1128 N. Ninth St,, will include music, a bottle of hand sanitizer (while supplies last) and prizes to be randomly awarded on site. Radio stations B93.3 FM and FM102.1 are also producing the event.
Participating businesses include Milwaukee Brewing, La Crosse Distilling Company, Aggie's Bakery, Lo Duca Wines, Best Place at the Pabst, Pizza Shuttle, Cousin's Subs, Serb Hall and, as beneficiaries of Save Our Spots: The Tandem, Goodkind, Three Brothers, Bavette La Boucherie, Pilcrow Coffee and Interval Cafe and Ca'Lucchenzo.
A portion of all sales will go to Save Our Spots, a charity created by attorney C.J. Krawczyk to help with financial support for local venues during the coronavirus healthy crisis. To donate, go to gofundme.com/sos.
— Peter Sullivan
10:15 a.m.: National Guard slightly moves its test site on north side
The Wisconsin National Guard has altered the address of its northside Milwaukee testing site.
Testing will remain at the Midtown Center, but the address to access the facility has been changed to 5825 W. Hope Ave., according to a press release from the National Guard.
The release said the address was adjusted after “significant response” to the site, which opened Monday.
Free testing at that site, along with a south side location at 2701 S. Chase Ave., will be available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
— Elliot Hughes
7:38 a.m.: Another 26 cases, one death reported in Milwaukee County
Milwaukee County reported another 26 cases of COVID-19 and one death between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.
That brings countywide totals to 4,077 cases and 222 deaths, according to the county’s online dashboard. More than 3,000 of those cases are in the city of Milwaukee.
As of Monday, 154 people were hospitalized from the virus. That number has remained steady over the last week, but hospitalizations have been slowly decreasing since April 12, when the county had 267 patients.
Half of the county’s intensive care unit beds and 62 percent of floor beds are currently in use, according to the dashboard, while a quarter of the county’s ventilators are in use.
— Elliot Hughes
MONDAY, MAY 11
4:50 p.m.: 71 test positive after voting or working polls in April 7 election
A total of 71 Wisconsinites tested positive for COVID-19 after voting in the April 7 election or working the polls — but we’ll never know how many actually contracted the disease there.
That number has grown slowly as state and local officials conducted contact tracing, but it is now considered final since the state will no longer be asking about election contact, state Department of Health Services spokeswoman Elizabeth Goodsitt said Monday.
She noted the same caveat officials have since the election, that many people had other possible exposures, leaving it unclear if voting directly led to the infections.
The tally includes all people who tested positive from April 9 to April 21, when the two-week incubation period of the disease would have ended. Those cases accounted for less than 4% of the 1,864 people who tested positive in that time span.
- Eric Litke
3:56 p.m.: Nearly 800 tested for coronavirus at free testing sites in Milwaukee
Nearly 800 people already have been tested for the coronavirus at two sites in Milwaukee, Mayor Tom Barrett said at news briefing Monday.
As of 3 p.m. Monday, 400 people had been tested at the north side location and another 390 people had been tested at the south side location, Barrett said.
The testing sites are staffed by members of the Wisconsin National Guard and will continue to be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day at UMOS, 2701 S. Chase Ave., and Midtown Center, 5700 W. Capitol Drive.
"We've been incredibly pleased with the turnout at these locations today," Barrett said.
Testing is free and available to everyone, including those without symptoms, though officials urged anyone with symptoms such as dry cough and fever to get tested.
"The goal is to have a lot more of a baseline ... in terms of how deeply this virus has infected our community, and we can make sure that we're dealing with the equity issues," Barrett said.
"We have seen a high incidence in the African American community, and more recently we've seen a high incidence in the Hispanic community," he added. "We want these individuals, these members of our community, to know that there is a place for them to go get tested."
Anyone who tests positive will be contacted by a local health official from where they live for contact tracing.
"There are plenty of tests available so the sites will stay open until 8 p.m. regardless of how many samples have been collected," said National Guard Capt. Joe Trovato.
There is no end date scheduled for the two sites in the city.
"We are prepared to stay on-site in Milwaukee to administer testing as long as there's a demand for it," Trovato said.
In addition, there remain 17 federally qualified health centers doing testing, which "welcome anyone with symptoms, regardless of income insurance or immigration status," said Ben Weston, medical services director for Milwaukee County’s Office of Emergency Management.
People can connect with their nearest site by calling 211 and entering their ZIP code to get a scheduled appointment, Weston said.
— Ashley Luthern
3:35 p.m.: Bucks to reopen training facility
The Milwaukee Bucks announced Monday that they would be reopening their training facility across the street from Fiserv Forum, perhaps marking one step forward toward the resumption of the 2019-20 season.
The Bucks official Twitter account posted a message from general manager Jon Horst: "Under the guidance of the NBA, our players have modified access to the Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Science Center for voluntary treatment, performance training and rehabilitation.
Several NBA teams had already opened their facilities as early as late April in states where stay-at-home restrictions were less severe. Teams are still not holding group workouts, nor is there yet a timetable for a return to games.
— JR Radcliffe
3:12 p.m.: Major League Baseball owners hope for return in early July
Major League Baseball owners approved an unprecedented revenue sharing plan among other notable details as it attempts to kickstart the season in the first few days of July.
The plan, however, is expected to be rejected by the players' union after the proposal is forwarded later Monday to the MLBPA, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY.
The plan would implement, among other things, an 82-game season in empty stadiums, an expanded postseason roster from 10 teams to 14, the elimination of the All-Star Game, an expansion of rosters to 30 players and a start to training camp in June.
Under the proposal, teams would reportedly keep the same traditional division structure and play in their own stadiums but would only play teams within their regional classification in the American League or National League. In other words, the Brewers would only play AL Central and NL Central teams, while East and West teams will likewise face off solely against others in their part of the country.
2:20 p.m.: New cases in Wisconsin drop below 200 for first time in May
For the first time since April 27, Wisconsin's newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus were fewer than 200.
Daily updates of positive tests had averaged 336 in May before Monday, when state health officials announced 199 positives among nearly 3,100 tests. Total deaths in Wisconsin due to COVID-19 increased by nine, to 409.
Following Mother's Day weekend, the number of test results revealed was the lowest in a week, but even so, there was encouraging news in the portion of tests that came back positive for the virus.
Just 6.5% of results announced Monday were positive, the second-lowest number since the state changed its reporting on March 30 to exclude repeated tests of the same patients.
A sustained decline in that percent-positive number over the past two weeks means Wisconsin now meets another criteria set by Gov. Tony Evers to begin a phased reopening of public spaces.
— Matt Piper
12:40 p.m.: Most businesses in Wisconsin can now offer in-person shopping
All stand-alone or strip-mall based retail stores are now able to offer in-person shopping, as long as customers are limited to five at a time and social distancing practices are maintained, Gov. Tony Evers announced Monday.
Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm signed the order Monday that allows customers to enter stand-alone or strip-mall based retail stores. The order also allows drive-in theaters to operate with some restrictions. The new order goes into effect immediately.
"In addition to added flexibilities and steps we have already taken for businesses, this is another disciplined turn of the dial that will allow Wisconsin's business owners to safely get back to work and Wisconsin consumers to support their favorite local spots," said Gov. Evers in a news release. "Both customers and workers need to be confident in their safety, so we need everyone to be diligent in following best safety practices so we can continue to move our state forward while keeping our neighbors, families, and communities safe and healthy."
Face coverings are strongly encouraged for all staff and customers and social distancing requirements must be observed. Stores that operate under the new guidelines must establish lines outside the store to regulate entry.
The order is another rollback of restrictions from Evers' Safer At Home order March 24. The last order amending the restrictions allowed golf courses to operate and for all businesses to provide deliveries, mailings and curbside pickup. The Safer At Home order is set to expire May 26.
— Sarah Hauer
11:18 a.m.: West Allis launches program to help small businesses affected by COVID-19
West Allis is launching a small business assistance program to provide support to businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The West Allis Common Council last week approved $210,000 from the Community Development Block Grant-CV (CDBG-CV) funds to create a Small Business RESTART Grant Program for businesses with fewer than 20 employees, and provided $60,500 funding to the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. (WWBIC) to give assistance to micro-enterprises (businesses with fewer than five employees), according to a news release from the city.
Funds were made available from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Federal CARES Act.
“COVID-19 has impacted the West Allis business community and small business’ invaluable contributions to our local economy,” West Allis Mayor Dan Devine said in the release. “The use of CDBG-CV funds to assist local businesses is critical and needed to meet employee and business needs during this crisis.”
The grant will require that business owners show the financial impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on their businesses.
Applications can be found on the city’s website at www.westalliswi.gov/WASBA.
– Bob Dohr
10:26 a.m.: Oconomowoc drive-in closes when it observes patrons disobeying social distance guidelines
The Kiltie Drive-In, a popular Oconomowoc establishment that opened in 1946, closed early over the weekend after customers were not following social distancing guidelines.
Just after 8 p.m. Saturday, The Kiltie's Facebook page announced the drive-in would shut down for the night after people failed to follow guidelines established by Gov. Tony Evers' safer-at-home order.
"We CHOSE to close tonight," the post stated. "We respectfully are a drive-in, we are open for curbside, and take out orders only! TOO many customers were leaving their vehicles and socializing with other people! We need you to stay in your vehicles when you come up."
— Evan Frank
8:15 a.m.: American Hockey League cancels rest of season, Admirals declared champions
American Hockey League president/CEO David Andrews announced Monday that the league’s board of governors has voted to cancel the remainder of the regular season and the 2020 Calder Cup Playoffs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The silver lining is that the Milwaukee Admirals are the AHL champions. The Admirals had the league's best record at 41-14-5-3, good for 91 points. They are considered winners of the AHL, the Western Conference and the Central Division, and stats are considered official.
The AHL announced March 12 it was suspending the season, following the lead of the NHL, and four days later it sent players home because the suspension would last at least until May.
— Ben Steele
7:50 a.m.: Milwaukee County now has more than 4,000 confirmed cases
Milwaukee County reported 4,025 cases of the coronavirus Monday morning, which confirms more than 4,000 cases of COVID-19 in the county for the first time. The county had 75 more cases of the coronavirus Monday morning.
Four people in the county have died of the coronavirus since Sunday morning, bringing the total of COVID-19 related deaths to 219.
County residents in their 30s (664 cases) and 40s (661 cases) account for most coronavirus cases, while people 80 and older account for the most coronavirus deaths.
As of Sunday afternoon, the percentage of ICU beds in use fell to 53%, while the use of ventilators rose to 28%.
— Jordyn Noennig
SUNDAY, MAY 10
7:45 p.m. Urgent need for blood donations as elective surgeries resume
Now that hospitals are beginning to resume surgeries a blood shortage caused by canceled drives during the pandemic has prompted authorities to issue an urgent plea.
Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin especially needs O negative blood.
Blood donations dropped as hospitals focused on treating coronavirus patients and dozens of blood drives in March and April were scrapped.
With the state’s safer at home order expected to be lifted this month plus warmer weather coming soon, the number of accidents and traumatic injuries is expected to rise.
"The need has now spiked again, and we seek the generosity of donors to ensure hospitals have the necessary blood products in hand as they resume elective surgery and other essential medical care,” Versiti Chief Medical Officer Tom Abshire said in a statement.
Donors are required to wear masks and should bring their own if they have one. Temperatures of blood donors and staff members are taken and social distancing is practiced at donation centers and community blood drives.
Appointments are strongly encouraged since walk-ins could see wait times. Appointments can be scheduled at versiti.org/Wisconsin or by calling (877) BE-A-HERO.
— Meg Jones